Zenkichi

March 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

If you’ve ever spent a night out in Williamsburg, chances are good that you’ve happened upon the corner of N 6th St and Wythe Ave.  Does this look familiar to you?

Photo via The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

Have you ever wondered what the wooden facade encases?

Curiosity got the best of us tonight.  Our initial intention of finding fish tacos on the first beautiful evening of 2011 was foiled by our own misinterpretation of the restaurant named “Tacu Tacu.”  The reformulated plan was to continue down one block and back: if we didn’t find something new to try in that one block, we’d revisit a standby option.  But as we passed the blank wooden wall, the menu drew us in and we discovered it was a Japanese restaurant.  With virtually no sushi to speak of.  After an indiscernable moment of hesitation, we went in.

One step into Zenkichi immediately transported the two of us back to every fine dining experience we’d had in Japan.  We reminisced about Cesar’s sake match with my brother’s colleague, Taniguchi.  I recalled trying sake flights with names like “fu fu fu” (explained as the sound of soft laughter) in a swanky joint hidden in a town that seemed to roll up the sidewalk to every other public establishment at 8pm.  And the flavors in each dish that arrived at our private two-person booth were so authentic, it will be hard to accept Japanese dishes from any of our usual haunts from now on.  As we savored every bite, we discussed the subtle flavors that tend to be missing from local fare: miso, sesame, seaweed, bonito, egg, and the numerous tones we couldn’t identify.   It’s very difficult to describe the complete satisfaction and nourishment derived from authentic Japanese food, just as it is nearly impossible for me to communicate the feeling I always get from being in that country.  If you have ever been, you must make Zenkichi the destination for your next special occasion meal.  Although a trip to Japan is not mandatory to find the food utterly delectable.

To segue a little, albeit awkwardly and hopefully not insensitively, my brother and his family and friends are all safe and healthy in Takamatsu.  Those he knows and loves in Tokyo are also well.  But my thoughts continue to be with those who were and continue to be affected by the quake, tsunami, and nuclear uncertainty.

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